Helen and Bill are about to go on holiday.  They have a surfeit of sausages left over from the barbecue on 14th.  Ron had done his usual grand job with the charcoal, the smoke, and the bottle of beer he used to dowse the flames when they looked like singeing too much.  But there had been a certain miscalculation on the catering front.  We were to become beneficiaries of this, and to that end we went over to Poulner to collect them.  Helen, incidentally, has produced a beautiful picture of a gardener in his element; her first effort in acrylics.  I hope she is justifiably proud of it.  I would have been.


Gravel Lane houseWhilst we were in the vicinity we had a look at the outside of a very promising house in Fairlie; then on to Gravel Lane in Ringwood to one that was not quite so attractive.  We will keep Marshwood in Fairlie in our favourites box, but delete the other which is rather surrounded by more recent housing in a lane that seems too narrow for its traffic.

This afternoon I had a doze and found several other ways of avoiding getting down to a task I have been putting off.  On 28th June I wrote of the preparation of some 37 year old colour slides for printing for The Firs August Open Studio.  I was rash enough to say I would print them the next day.  Well I hadn’t got around to it until today.  This is because I was trying something I hadn’t quite done before.  Danni, the Exhibition administrator, e-mailed the several exhibitors a few days ago for confirmation of what they intended to submit.  This acted as a necessary prompt.

I had made many prints up to A3+ size when in Sutherland place and previous addresses.  I had had tuition in Photoshop from Alex Schneideman. I had a Canon Pro 900 printer.  I had an Epson V750 PRO scanner.  And I had a six year old i-Mac too old – a veteran at five and obsolete next year – for upgrading.  So I now have a brand new i-Mac and have to synchronise it with familiar equipment each time I engage in something for the first time.  This is scary.

Well, there was no more prevarication possible.Printing for the exhibition  So I rigged everything up and went to work.  Of course the printer had run out of Cyan ink, hadn’t it?  No problem.  I have spares and remembered what to do.  The i-Photo application then invited me to customise the print.  What was that?  I didn’t know, so I pressed ‘customise’, and merrily began.  It took three sheets of wasted photographic A4 paper for me to realise why I was only printing 3/4 of the picture and with strange borders.  If you opted to customise you got several icons at the bottom of the screen, inviting various borders and captions to the picture. I hadn’t noticed those.  Also for some reason, whatever you see on screen, the paper has to be loaded vertically and I was loading it horizontally.  It may always have been like that, but, not having done any printing for three years, I may well have forgotten.

The next print was a slight improvement.  Having declined to write anything  underneath the photograph, because I’d much rather do that in pencil on the frame’s border, I still had a space left beneath the finished picture which was intended to take whatever I chose to write in my choice of font and font size.  Once I’d chosen to customise I didn’t know how to cancel it.  I managed that in the end, but I can’t remember how.  Even The IT Crowd’s most sensible advice to turn it off and start again didn’t work because whenever I tried to recommence my equipment picked up where we’d left off. In certain circumstances I’m sure that would be a life-saver, but it didn’t fit the bill this afternoon.

Customise is no longer going to be pressed.

Prints for the exhibition

Nevertheless, supplemented by some shots of The Cuff Billet New Europa Jazz Band taken on 5th May this year, the results are far better than I could possibly have expected.  It is just really a matter of being a computerphobe.  Nothing in reality is ever as bad as we fear.  But that is the point of a phobia.  You can’t tell yourself that and make it go away.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chilli con carne (recipe) and pilau rice with the addition of crisp courgettes (courtesy of Heather and Brian) fried with mushrooms. I finished the Chilano.

Printing Mottisfont Trout

DaffodilSpring continues to be thrust aside by its hoary old relative.  Why winter has been unable to enjoy an easy third age on the lecture circuit is a mystery to us all, except perhaps Michael Fish, the weatherman who infamously dismissed reports of the Great Storm of 1987.  A solitary daffodil manages to defy the cold and to brighten the shrubbery opposite our dining area.  Its companion probably isn’t going to make it.

Just as cold today, at least the wind had dropped.  There was not much sign of life until I met the sheep as I walked the first ford ampersand.  A couple of bedraggled, head-drooping, forlorn looking ponies jerked their slow way up the centre of the road through the village.  A young woman relaxed aboard her pony at the end of a ride.  The occasional car went by.  Apart from the rider, the only other person I spoke to was a driver on my return journey who stopped and asked the way to the Study Centre.  I trust Judith will be as impressed as I was by the detailed accuracy of my stunning directions.

Imagining being reliant on sheep for your day’s excitement should give the reader a better flavour of the day than yet more attempts of mine to find different ways of describing miserable weather.  As I approached the sheep field in Newtown I was greeted by a very loud bleating chorus.  This was emanating from the hedge through which it was just possible to see the vociferous ovine occupants.  On turning a corner and drawing up alongside a five barred gate I felt like a London bus driver arriving at Morden bus station soon after school going home time.  The parent sheep were already waiting at the gate baaing their heads off. Sheep and lambs It was then I saw the lambs.  These small animals leapt, gambolled, pushed and shoved each other, and squirmed their way in front of the adults, determined to get to the head of the queue.  The parents’ hubbub followed me as I continued on my way.

This afternoon I tackled the last of the challenges my new computer has set me.  I connected the Canon Pro 900 printer to the iMac.  Lo and behold, the software download was done automatically in about two minutes and I made an A3 print in a jiffy.  The setup is now pretty well complete.  The whole kit has to be confined to a fairly small space in our massive sitting room.  Mac sits on the desk.  The small Epson printer lies underneath on a ledge alongside the A4 printing paper, and the Epson V750 Pro scanner is perched on a small Sainsbury’s wine rack on its side on top of a little filing cabinet.  There is no room in this arrangement for the enormous A3+ printer.  Jackie, of course, came up with the ideal solution.  This very heavy piece of equipment nestles in a laundry bag within a plastic box on wheels.  All this stands at the bottom of her wardrobe.  When I need the printer I open the wardrobe; pull out the box on wheels; open the box; lift out the laundry bag by its handles; carry it from bedroom to sitting room, where the kitchen trolley waits to double as a stand; place the printer on the trolley; and finally attach the plug in place in the trailing socket on the desk and put the cable into a USB port.  I really think Heath Robinson, a superb draftsman famous for his drawings of complex and complicated contraptions for simple tasks, would have envied my lady her inventiveness.  Not, I hasten to add, that there is anything ridiculous about Jackie’s simplification of my set up.

Printing trout

Today’s test print was of trout taken at Mottisfont on 7th September last year.

This evening we took a trip to Imperial China in Lyndhurst, where we enjoyed the usual excellent meal, and both drank TsingTao beer.

Preparing For The Hunt

Emery Down 3.13An icy wind held this beautiful day in its grasp and ensured that my morning walk to Lyndhurst and back remained freezing.  Even by one o’clock when I returned, much of the terrain was frozen, ice covered the pools, and a thin layer of snow remained in parts.Misty & mistress 3.13

Misty and her mistress were dressed for the conditions.  This whippet’s owner was pleasantly impressed when I complimented her on the colour coordination they were displaying.  I don’t see how I could have missed it as their fluorescent glow gleamed in my direction from way down the road.

Tall pines sighed unceasingly when beset by the howling Easterly. The shorter hollies creaked, and flustered clusters of swaying ivy lent life to those deciduous trees that remained leafless.  Serried rows of last autumn’s bronzed beech leaves wobbled a bit, but clung stubbornly, upside down, to their perches.  Blackbirds, undeterred, went about their business in the hedgerows and ditches.Ditch 3.13  Such a good job had been done of clearing the ditches (see 7th March)  outside Sinefield that I doubt there would be much there to interest these foragers.

As I approached Emery Down, a group of barely visible deer scampered deeper into the forest.

The smoking chimney of The New Forest Inn was even more inviting than usual on this cold day.

Just as I had climbed up past Saint Michael and All Angels church on the way back, Jackie rang me to ask me to buy some carrots. It may have been cold enough for Christmas, but they can’t have been for Santa’s reindeer in March.  I didn’t fancy trooping back down to Budgen’s where I had just done our shopping, so we agreed I’d divert  to the Village shop to see if they had any. New Forest Inn Chimney 3.13 This meant using the church footpath, which is now just as muddy as ever.  My reward for this was the sight of daffodils now joining the crocuses in bloom among the gravestones.

Having walked approximately eight undulating miles, as I passed the telephone box I wasn’t looking forward to the steep climb up Running Hill – so named for the number of streams it harbours – when Castle Malwood came to my rescue.  An electrician asked me for directions to this conference centre which lies around the corner from us and has a very dangerous entrance onto the A31.  He clearly needed a guide.  So he had to give me a lift.All Saints churchyard 3.13 Which was just as well because his Satnav was attempting to send him up a badly made up road that had no access to the building.  And because I was a bit tired.

After lunch there was another job lined up for me.  Jackie had had a wonderful idea for an Easter Egg hunt for Malachi when he comes tomorrow.  Anyone familiar with these games will know that the searcher is presented with a clue that leads to the first egg which lies with the next clue, and so on until the end.  The clues could not be in writing because my grandson is not quite four.  When Flo was little Jackie had made drawings for the clues.  But I now have a digital camera and a shiny new iMac.  I expect you saw that coming.

Fourteen photographic prints of bits of household objects or equipment, all at four year old height level, were required. IMG_3850 I expected this to take all afternoon.  The photo-shoot was simple enough.  Loading the results into the computer was now easy-peasy.  Cropping and other adjustments that would have taken hours with Photoshop, could not have been quicker or simpler.  The printer was already plugged in.  Ah.  The first problem was that I had not selected the printer or synchronised it with the Mac.  Now where was the CD for the software?  A box asked me if I wanted to download the software.  I ‘accentuated the positive’.  In four minutes the software was downloaded.  No CD required.  Fourteen prints took even less time.  I think I love my iMac.

With this success I got rather trigger-happy and pressed ‘Publish’ instead of ‘Save Draft’ too early for those who like to know what we had for dinner.  So now I’m having to ‘Update’ this post.  Well, it’s going to be roast chicken.  I will drink some more of the Cepa Lebrel, and Jackie will have some Hoegaarden.

Lunch At The Tower

It only took an hour this morning to get BT to reset my personal password.  I tried it out on the Apple.  Cor, it worked.  I then transferred all the photos from my My Passport to the new Mac, so I can now operate the whole of my posts directly from the new machine.

After a welcome mother’s day call from Becky, the doorbell buzzed.  As Jackie opened the door, a bunch of glorious daffodils entered.  The hand attached to the arm following them was Matthew’s.  To her great delight, he came with it.

Matthew & Oddie 3.13We spent an enjoyable day together, during which Mat and I took Oddie for a walk down to the village shop and back.  The thirsty little dog emulated the ponies, which he otherwise actually ignored, by drinking from roadside rainwater.

On our return I watched England scrape a rugby victory against a much improved Italian side.  Neither Mat nor Jackie is a fan, so we also conversed about other things, with the TV volume very low.

I then came to select the third photograph in Elizabeth’s ‘Derrick through the ages’ series.  It was then that I received a most pleasant surprise from my iMac.  The chosen photo is from a 1960 print about two inches square with a crack across the middle of it.  I had worked on it with the Photoshop application in my older Mac about three years ago.  It was still in need of considerable improvement when I gave it to Elizabeth last year. It was that still blemished version that my sister used for her slideshow.  When I bought my new computer a few days ago, Joe had shown me that it was possible to enhance pictures with it.  Today, I hadn’t much confidence in my ability to find that facility, but in fact it was quite straightforward.  Not only that, but it was far simpler to use than my six year old Photoshop.  I was able to produce a version of the damaged portrait that is beyond all recognition.

Derrick 1960This photograph was taken by Vivien and printed by her brother, Bernard.  As will be instantly apparent, I was leaning on a rail near the Tower of London.  This was on one of our lunchtime walks from our workplace at Lloyd’s of London during the year we met. Vivien typed my work in the General Average office of that celebrated Marine Insurance establishment.  We would walk around the City during our breaks.  Little did either of us then know that I would, more that twenty years later, run three London marathons which included the cobblestones by that very spot.  Or that she would have less than five years to live (see 17th July 2012).

Oven fish and chips was our evening fare.  Treacle sponge and custard was to follow.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

Sheepfield in rain 3.13Mahonia 3.13The rain is back.  There was no off-road venturing this morning.  As I dripped round the ford ampersand, I sought comfort in the expectation that I would return with ‘that Brylcreem look’ which would resolve my bad hair day.  I had awoken with it sticking out all over the place. Johnny Rotten would have been proud of it.

Able Piling’s crew, who were, with shovels and spades, laying stones in a drive, didn’t welcome the rain. Able Piling crew 3.13 They sensibly kept their heads covered.

The work of post-winter clearing of the ditches had begun.  This involves digging out mud and debris which is then heaped by the side of the trenches.  No doubt it finds its own level and is soon covered in greenery.  I do hope this is now done by machines.  I expect I will find out.  Interestingly, if the ditch is alongside your property its maintenance is your responsibility.

The coned off pool described in, among others, the post of 17th December last year, has now been resurfaced and its drain cleared.

Champion (see 16th December) has his cough back.

Petrol stain 3.13Jackie drove us to Southampton Parkway to collect Alison who came for a visit.  Leaked petrol glowed iridescently on the wet forecourt of the garage at Eastleigh where she filled the tank.

Later I applied my mind to iMacs.  First I had to use an ordinary memory stick on which Elizabeth had collected the photographs of ‘Derrick through the ages’, that were a background slideshow at my 70th birthday party.  This I had attached to my ‘veteran’ iMac, but hadn’t tried to save it.  Given that I had bought a My Passport for Mac with which to transfer all the pictures from old to new computer, I thought I would initially attempt to put Elizabeth’s set into the pictures section of the old one.  Miraculously I managed it.

The next task was to transfer the now enhanced collection of saved photos from my six year old redundant Mac.  So the first box I opened was the My Passport for Mac.  It carried a guarantee in goodness knows how many languages, but the directions consisted of a scanty sheet of paper with three pictures, numbered 1,2,and 3.  I couldn’t make head or tail of them, except that I should first plug it into a USB port.  So I did that, clicked onto the icon and stared at stuff.  After much trial and error, I eventually clicked and dragged the Pictures icon to the My Passport one.  Then we had lift-off.  Perhaps the most scary bit was the message informing me this would take about two hours.  So, in order not to spend that time hovering over a screen watching a thin blue line creeping across it and a white light flashing on the super duper memory stick, I sidled across the room to my laptop and played an on-line Scrabble session.  After two hours I had a look.  It was done.  Ejecting the My Passport safely was problematic.  I kept getting a message telling me it was in use and therefore couldn’t be ejected.  So I shut down the computer, switched it on again and had no problem.  Thanks to ‘The It Crowd’ for that little tip.  I think I’ll open the new iMac box tomorrow.  I don’t want to push my luck. 1 But just to show you that I can at least transfer the contents of a memory stick to my soon to be obsolete iMac, here is a picture of Derrick from 1942.

Anyone under the age of five reading this, please understand that I’m an old man.  You are probably already familiar with all this.  If you are not there already, when you get to school it will be how you communicate and learn.  When I went to school even biros had only just been invented.  We didn’t yet have them, and dipped a pen with a steel nib into a dark liquid called ink with which to write on paper.

I felt I’d earned the wonderful chicken jalfrezi with homemade chutneys  that Jackie served up for our evening meal.  Bread and Butter pudding was my choice of afters. Hers was rhubarb crumble.  I finished the Isla Negra whilst Jackie abstained.  Don’t get the wrong idea, I would have given her some had she wanted it.

Today’s title comes from a classic self-help book by Susan Jeffers, first published in 1987.  I’ve never read the book, but the title has always appealed to me.

Deferred Gratification

West Quay 3.13A most unfortunate consequence of having discovered that your iMac is very nearly obsolete, and deciding to investigate the possibility of buying a new one, is that, if you live near Southampton, that means another visit to West Quay shopping centre.  This morning, to that galaxy in the sky we boldly went.

What neither of us had realised on our previous trips, is that West Quay is a specific building.  We knew the Apple Store was in West Quay, but thought that term referred to the entire complex, including people like IKEA who have their own building.  Having parked and found the first payment machine out of order, we asked a helpful parking attendant where to find both machine and computer outlet.

He directed us to a multi-story carpark where we should take a lift to Level 7, walk across a bridge, and enter the largest shopping mall I think I have had to negotiate.  This vast collection of outlets was on several floors served by escalators.  Actually I hadn’t taken the lift, but had joined Jackie on level 7.  There were a number of Apple logos on the landings of the staircase, so that looked optimistic.

John Lewis, West Quay 3.13All we had to do was find the Apple Store.  There were helpful information screens showing the location of shops at the touch of a button.  This was some help.  Only some.  Even Jackie was thrown by the confusion created by this device.  Apple was shown as a narrow shop next to H & M and close to John Lewis.  But John Lewis was on two separate floors.  Ok, we could check them both.  Apple was nowhere near the ground floor one.  Ground floor, you understand, is really a misnomer, because we were still at level 7, already approaching the heavens.  So we tried the upper floor.  No joy.  But another helpful customer overheard our deliberations.  She knew that H & M was around the corner.  Which it was.  With Apple next door.  Nowhere near the location given on the screen.

Apple Store, West Quay 3.13Then it got easier.  Joe was immediately on hand.  Which was a miracle considering how full the store was.  He explained very simply what I needed, and set up a new machine for me.  When he offered me the usual extra three year insurance, I declined it on the grounds that at the rate things were going the new computer would be obsolete by the end of three years.  Joe was very amused at this, and acknowledged that it wasn’t so daft.

We had planned to do the weekly shop then, but decided to take the computer home first.  After lunch Jackie suggested she went off to Ringwood shopping on her own, leaving me to set up the new acquisition.  I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of deferring tackling the scary project for another couple of hours, so I accompanied her.  She wasn’t sure that was terribly helpful, because it then meant she would be at home when I began the task.

Jackie then drove us both to Ringwood.  As usual we parted in the carpark and met later.  I wandered in and around the town, and noticed that, although sandbags were still in evidence, ‘the flood waters had receded from the earth’ (Genesis).  Since less than 150 days had passed, this drying out was by no means complete.  Jubilee Gardens was no longer flooded, and the static caravan site behind Ringwood Tackle was not so sodden.  This encouraged me to attempt to enter the Avon Valley Path alongside these homes.  A month ago this had been so flooded that ponies had to be rescued.  Today I could at least venture through the gate.  After a few yards I thought better of it.  It was far too muddy.

Water was slowly leaving the Raymond Brown nature reserve alongside the Bickerley.  Birds out of their normal element were reluctant to do the same.Geese on receding water 3.13  They picked their way amongst the residual pools, trying to ignore the fact that the ponies were hoping soon be taking up residence again.  The millstream could now be distinguished from the floodwaters. Swans, Mill stream Ringwood 3.13 It was commandeered by swans, one of which noisily trumpeted its efforts to take off. Swan taking off 3.13 I wondered whether this ungainly flier had heard Peter Trim talking about bouncing bombs yesterday.

On our return home we had a beer before Jackie began cooking a chicken curry.  This meant I had to put off opening my Apple box a bit longer.  Afterwards it wasn’t worth starting because we would soon be eating.  So I spent the evening, like a child postponing the pleasure of unwrapping a Christmas present, just looking at my lovely new box.  Maybe I’ll get started on the job tomorrow.  If I can’t think of another excuse not to.

Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice was really authentic, if a bit hot for her.  I drank some Isla Negra reserva merlot 2012.  She didn’t.

Past It At Six

It was such a grey day that I did not fancy a walk.  Not only that, but I’ve done quite a lot in the last couple of days and considered I’d earned a rest.  So we went to Hedge End for yet more strip lighting, and dropped in on Elizabeth. Rose buds 1.13

She wants to use some of my photographs for her web site.  We discussed possibilities.  Jackie watered some of the plants in the greenhouse and I wandered round the garden enjoying signs of post-winter life. Berberis Darwinii 3.13 Roses and shrubs are budding and some of the latter even beginning to bloom.  We were particularly pleased with the winter flowering rhododendron that we planted last autumn in a newly created bed.  The one drawback with this is that what was thought to be yellow and scented is actually pale pink and lacking an aroma. Rhododendron 1.13 Elizabeth thought she may have picked up the wrong one in the garden centre.

After this we visited Mum who has a chest infection and hasn’t been at all well.  Not wishing to disturb her if she was asleep, and being unable to remember the code for the keysafe, which allows people access to her house when she can’t get to the door, I rang the bell very tentatively.  There was no reply.  We peeped through the kitchen window.  Fortunately the door to the living room was open and we could see Mum’s slippered feet resting on her pouffe.  We could also see the television screen which had writing on it, but no moving pictures.  She must be asleep.  Craning to one side, Jackie spotted a movement.  Mum was doing her cross-stitch.  So I rang the doorbell again.

My mother apologised for not answering the bell.  She had been feeling less well yesterday and had struggled to the door to be greeted by an electioneering canvasser.  Thinking that if there was one there were likely to be more, she put up a notice saying she could not come to the door for political discussions.  She removed it this morning but thought that maybe we were another such visitor.  I said I was glad to hear that was the reason, because until we saw her twitch when we could see her feet through the kitchen window with an unchanging television screen , we thought she had popped her clogs.  Mum had a good laugh at this and didn’t even cough.  She had been listening to the radio through the television.  Far too up to the minute for me.

I’m sure this nonagenerian would have more success with a computer than I do.  I have written before about the problems with setting up my i-Mac, in particular my inability to upload photos direct from my camera.  With an unaccustomed burst of optimism I decided to get down to the business of upgrading my machine.  Trawling around the Apple on-line information I learned that what I needed was a Mountain Lion.  But before I could even think of obtaining one of those dubious pets I needed a Snow Leopard.  Whoever named the Berberis Darwinii photographed above would probably understand Apple’s system of evolution.

But, hold on a minute, no Mac purchased before 2007, can accommodate a wild cat.  I needed to check my operating system.  Non-vintage operating systems are all named after these beautiful endangered species.  Not only endangered, they are dying out, and needing replacement, at an alarming rate.  There were helpful instructions as to how to discover your operating system.  My computer was purchased in 2006, so it is not even powered by a moggie kitten.

The time had come for me to give up trying to find my way through the on-line maze, so I telephoned Apple and, after the usual false starts because I couldn’t give the robot the right answers, I spoke to a very helpful man named John.  One of the false starts was Jackie’s fault.  Just as the machine I was being questioned by asked me something to which the answer was definitely not ‘No’, she called me from the kitchen asking if I’d like some coffee, which I didn’t.  And I don’t think the young woman with the tinny voice is programmed to accept ‘thank you’.

John, of course, confirmed what I had come to realise.  I cannot upgrade my Apple.  And new i-Macs don’t have a slot for discs, which is what I need to upload the system for transferring pictures from my little Canon.  Maybe I would be able to do that another way, but I’ve had enough head banging for one day.  When I had told John the identifying number of my non-zoological operating system, he had taken a sharp intake of breath.  During the conversation he told me that my six year old machine was classified as ‘Vintage’.  Had it been another year older it would have been ‘Obsolete’.  ‘Vintage’ starts at five.  The term when given to wine might be considered positive.  Not with computers.

In the evening Jackie drove us to Totton where we enjoyed fish and chips with tea for me and coffee for her at Goodies.  Episode 5 of ‘Call the Midwife’ was for afters when we got home.

Harry The Grape

There is nothing more certain to do my head in than to try something either new or that I haven’t done for more than a week on the computer.  You will therefore be able to understand why I have been putting off moving my Apple computer to Minstead from the Firs.  Well, to be more accurate, setting it up at Minstead.  Elizabeth persuaded me to remove the Mac some time ago, but I have deferred the satisfaction of actually getting it to work.  I had to feel very strong to tackle that.  So I spent the morning at it.  Getting it plugged in was straightforward enough.  Turning it on worked out all right.  Then came the wireless mouse and keyboard.  No idea.  The box on screen said they weren’t discoverable.  Perhaps the batteries needed changing.  They did.  That did the trick.  Now for the internet.  Couldn’t get on.  We have a home hub, but can’t remember the password or how to set it up.  Ah, but I can remember Elizabeth’s.  Tried that.  That got me access to a BT hotspot.  Which will have to do for the moment.

The reason I bought the Apple in the first place was for photography.  I also bought a professional negative film and slide scanner, and printer capable of producing A3+ size photographs.  The ever practical Jackie has rigged up a wheeled platform housing these that can be brought from the bedroom wardrobe cupboard to the computer in the living room when I want to use them.  For everyday printing I have a smaller printer/scanner that works well enough with the Windows laptop.  But it wouldn’t work with the Apple.  Of course not.  The software disc must be loaded in.  Where was it?  After about half an hour I found it where it should have been and where it actually was in the first place and I didn’t find it when I looked.  It was quite a long process to upload this, but I managed it.  Then I printed a sample picture which had lines all over it.  That meant the nozzle had to be cleaned.  Simple enough on the laptop, but it took me ages to manage it on the Apple.

One last task would suffice for today.  Downloading the digital photographs from my camera to Windows Vista laptop works like a dream.  But could I do it on the Apple?  No.  That computer, bought in 2007 is too old, for goodness sake.

The New Forest Inn 2.13It was almost a relief, after lunch, to walk to Lyndhurst, ahead of Jackie to meet her there, via Emery Down, where The New Forest Inn was making good use of at least one chimney.

On the way through Minstead I stopped and chatted with a couple on a walking holiday.  Thinking I recognised their accent I asked where they were from.  It was Spalding in Lincolnshire, which is not all that far from Newark.

Pheasant 2.13On the road down to the ford a male pheasant scurried across my path.  ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ is a hoary old question to which there are numerous humorous answers.  I don’t know why my bird crossed the road in the first place, but I think he turned and recrossed it because he had seen me get my camera out, and, proud of his plumage, wished to prance about and pose for me.

Molehills 2.13Molehills abounded in the fields and on the verges.  I have never seen a live mole, but I am sure I would know one from E.H.Shepard’s marvellous illustrations to Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic ‘The Wind In The Willows’, which was one of my favourites.  So inspired was I by Mr. Toad and his friends that, in my teens in the mid-’50s, I began to make a comic book called ‘Toad in the Wild West’.  Mr. Toad 2.13That original masterpiece is long gone.  But here is a rough sketch of the eponymous hero.

Perched on the hilltop as you approach Lyndhurst from Emery Down is the rather splendid Victorian church of Saint Michael and All Angels. Gravestone steps, St Michael and All Angels 2.13

In its graveyard lie the ashes of Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell, the inspiration for the reverend Charles Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll.  His  ‘Alice’ books are also timeless classics.

A steep set of stone steps winding down to the town carpark is made from old gravestones, almost all the inscriptions of which are completely obliterated.  One would hope that these erasures were the effect of centuries of wind and rain, rather than of recent footsteps.

Jackie’s complete lamb jalfrezi meal was reprised for our dinner.  I finished the Carta Roja while she drank Orange Hefeweizen beer from Kitchen Garden Brewery in Sheffield Park, Uckfield.  This is a Sussex outlet which seems to have some provenance for Jackie.  Some years ago Jackie picked grapes for the friend of a friend who ran the Sheffield Park Vineyard and Nursery.  He was Harry the Grape.  Harry Godwin would be beyond retirement age by now.  So has he or his son branched out?  Or are there now two different enterprises?  Answers in a comment please.

Episode 2 of ‘Call the Midwife’ followed our meal.